Ideas for a Sustainable Development Outlook. Earth System Governance Working Paper, No.24 2012.
The UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability recently recommended a Global Sustainable Development Outlook (SD-Outlook) in addition to other science-related initiatives, such as the appointment of a chief scientific adviser and the inclusion of representatives of the scientific community in relevant national bodies dealing with sustainable development. As a response, Mexico proposed the establishment of an integrated and scientifically credible global sustainable development assessment to support decision-making processes at all levels, to assist member states in identifying policy options to speed up the achievement of the sustainable development goals and to inform, including through an agreed summary for policy makers, the high-level discussions of the forum responsible of following the Sustainable Development agenda. This paper’s intention is to shed some ideas on this proposal. An SD-Outlook might be a valuable addition to the sustainable development institutional arrangements. However, for such a report to go beyond the shelves of ministerial offices around the world, the SD-Outlook will have to add value to an already crowded landscape. It should: First, avoid overlapping the existing assessment landscape; second, be build around a legitimate and policy-relevant process; third, influence global, regional and national implementation; fourth, use existing structures; and fifth, it should include incentives and support mechanisms for data collection.